Holiday Safety Tips with Dr. Courtney, Part 2: Decorating

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While setting up lights for the holidays, be sure to set up safety measures to keep everyone safe during this festive season. Holiday decorations can be both sources of cheer and potential danger, which can all be avoided with proper checks and considerations.

Holiday Safety Tips for Decorating the Outside the House

Always be sure to check all outdoor lighting for frayed or damaged wires or bulbs. Avoid attaching more than three sets of string lights up to a single extension cord and check that any outdoor power outlets are not damaged in any way.

All hanging lights should be secured appropriately to lower the chances of having these fall on someone passing below or causing damage to your home due to strong winds. Finally, always turn off all indoor and outdoor lights when you leave home.

Holiday Safety Tips for Decorating Around the House

In a household with children, it is always important that any stringed decorations such as garland, string lights, and tinsel are up and out of reach of small hands. Holiday decorations such as glass or porcelain figurines and ornaments should also be kept in a secure location away from ledges where they can be grabbed. Confetti-style decorations like fake snow are not recommended due to the potential inhalation hazard they can present for small children and animals.

Consider swapping out live candles for fake, battery-operated candles as a safer alternative for decorating. Even if you are only in another room of your home, a burning candle can quickly catch nearby holiday decorations on fire, potentially leading to irreparable damage to the home. Finally, consider avoiding long, draping table runners that can be easily grabbed or pulled.

Holiday Safety Tips for Decorating the Tree

One of the most important items to remember when keeping a live tree in the home during the holidays is to water it regularly. A tree that is too dry can burn or catch fire from lights or heat sources in the home. Always bend the branches of your tree to check that it is still properly watered and flexible.

Regularly monitor the temperature of the room where the tree is being kept. A heated room can dry out a healthy tree faster than one might expect. Increase watering to prevent the tree from drying out completely. Avoid other heat sources by placing the tree in a room’s central area, away from fireplaces, radiators, or incandescent bulbs.

When purchasing an artificial tree, always look for trees that are labeled as fire-resistant. For pre-lit trees, be sure to check for any frayed or damaged wires each year before plugging the tree into an outlet.

Finally, in households with small children, consider leaving the bottom few branches of the tree clear of ornaments that can be grabbed or pulled down. For crawling children, consider placing a baby gate around the tree for added protection.

Remember to use caution this holiday season to avoid injury and to make every day merry and bright. Learn more about holiday safety with this blog on Cooking and Meal Preparation.